When: Through July 31
Where: U.S. 76, Hiawassee
How much: $9 per person, $2 parking
If you’ve had a craving for a fried apple pie or some locally caught trout, you’re in luck.
From now through July 31, the Georgia Mountain Fair will be in full swing, offering up tasty locally made treats along with old-time artisan demonstrations, live music and lots of mountain-themed rides and exhibits for the whole family.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the fair, which is a fundraiser for the Towns County Lions Club. It moved to its current location 50 years ago, and one of its more unique aspects comes from that history — specifically, the permanent wooden vendor booths that line its gravel walking paths.
“The Georgia Mountain Fair has been a project for the Lions Club and they have more than 400 volunteers working security, the gates, restrooms and such,” said Hilda Thomason, the fair’s general manager. “Also, the food booths are mostly run by civic organizations, so they can earn money to fund their projects and activities.”
New attractions this year include chainsaw carving artist Mel McEwen and a petting zoo from Rockin’ A Ranch featuring a zebra, llama, camel and other barnyard critters. There also will be live pottery demonstrations, an old-fashioned corn crib and a post office to explore.
“This year we’ll have a brand-new recipe showcase and baking contest sponsored by Ingles and State Farm,” said Thomason. “They’ll also have a cow milking demonstration and pioneer village. And of course, we’ll have the moonshine still.”
But don’t think the fair is all about old-time traditions. There’s a midway section with lots of rides, too.
And every day the fair offers live music from local, regional and national acts.
Brenda Lee performs Friday, The Bellamy Brothers perform on Saturday, and other acts perform daily throughout next week. July 29 is themed Bluegrass Day, featuring Mountain Heart, Paul Williams and Victory Trio and Little Roy Lewis and Elizabeth Long. On July 31, there will be live music throughout the day, ending with a sock hop at 10 p.m.
“The music hall has a great line-up every night, with Roy Clark, Brenda Lee, the Ballamy Brothers, Billy Joe Royal and others,” Thomason said.
The annual event is a destination for people from surrounding states, along with the North Georgia crowd, she said.
“Last year over the 11-day period we took in 44,000 tickets,” she said. “We hope to top that this year. ... The fair is right on Lake Chatuge, so if you get your fill of fair fun, you can enjoy the beach, Jet Skis, fishing and hiking.”